Disambiguations as reiterations of an artist's name

I acknowledge here that many significant editors would like to see transliterated Artist names as Disambiguations removed.

With many users and editors of MB being completely illiterate in scripts that Artists’ name appear in, inline search results not reliably displaying either sortname or language alias, and mouse-over not being available on Android devices - even momentarily, removing those Disambiguations would create real obstacles to many Artists being accessible on MB to a lot of people.

I think the Style Guidelines need to be changed to protect existing transliterated Artist name Disambiguations. And encouragement of their creation.

An alternative seems to be inaccessibility of Artists and a bias towards more WP-like editing environment.

Another track would be short term protection and fast tracking of internationalisation.

(Anyone got the ticket number for Internationalization of Artist names handy?
Small screen and the ticket site don’t work well together.)

No, want it demonstrates that transcripted text already appears with Latin sort name and with aliases?

Let’s use the disambiguation comment for disambiguation and not clutter the place with redundant distracting text.

If it does not fully work, please suggest improvements. :grin:


To a user who is illiterate in a script, most names in that script are indistinguishable from hundreds of other names in that script.

Hence the need to show Artist names in a familar script.

I think most MB community members would agree with above.

My previous post lists multiple scenarios in which non-Disambiguation methods of providing Artist names in script familar to the Latin script literate are currently failing to make Artists accessible to these users/editors. Latin script is currently the most widely recognised script globally AIUI.

My prefered solution is to have Artist names accessible to any user who is literate in one or more scripts.
This would seem to be real Internationalisation.

I’ll start another thread soon where we can search for ways to have inline search results reliably display a Latin script Artist name to all users / editors.

Currently having Artists reliably accessible to users and editors seems to need translit Artistname disambiguations to continue until device-agnostic solutions are working reliably.

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The post like count doesn’t really suggest this.

I maintain it’s a UI issue, since the dedicated database columns for this information already exist elsewhere.


This is true for most disambiguation comments btw, e.g. something like “Los Angeles rock group founded in 2012” (hypothetical example) is entirely made up of data we also track in machine-readable form.

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I think that’s different. The disambiguation is subjectively edited to be what the editor thinks is a concise way to declare that this X is, or is not, the X you’re looking for [1].

  • For some groups, that may be the begin area, but for many groups, it won’t be.
  • For some groups, that may be their (super-)genre of music, but this isn’t exactly machine-readable.
  • For some groups, that may be the start date, but for many groups, it won’t be.

I don’t think anyone could reasonably argue that the most effective way to disambiguate X from X is to store its Latin script transliteration.

[1] unless you have an unpopular guideline like Style / Specific types of releases / Soundtrack - MusicBrainz that misuses the disambiguation field, which most users neglect to implement in their editing, and which most users refuse to vote yes on when others do.


I would think that is not the case for people who cannot read the original script, otherwise people would not be entering such disambiguations?

While the current solution with transliterations as aliases makes searching work on a technical level, the actual search results only show the primary artist name in the original script, which doesn’t help the searcher if there are multiple similar-looking results and they cannot read the script in question. To fix this, the search results would have to show the alias that matched the search query.

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Let’s discuss in this topic without creating another one.

Let’s say I don’t understand japanese, but I want to edit Onmyo-za:


I search the artist and the Latin transcription is visible.

I then click the artist and the Latin transcription is visible.


If I edit some release and want to assign the artist to some relationship, I again see the Latin transcription.


If I edit one of their stuff (release or whatever), then you got a point, you cannot see without a mouse hover to make tooltip appear.

You could create a ticket for each place where you would like to see the missing Latin transcription, to study this.

But I expect that, when you are editing an artist release, you already know what artist you are working on.


I just came across an edit where a Russian composer’s (Tchaikovsky) romanized name was added to the disambiguation field. I was set to vote on this edit, as I understood that this was the function of aliases, not disambiguation. But then I noticed that there is quite a history of edits, for this and other Russian artists, adding, then removing, the romanized name from disambiguation.

Assuming this had been discussed, I found this thread, but it doesn’t appear that a consensus has been reached, and the style guidelines don’t appear to have been changed to address the issue. At least, I haven’t found any such guideline. So I’m reviving the issue, in hopes of finding out what decision was reached, if any.


Disambiguations are meant to differentiate and the name doesn’t generally differentiate, so it should be self-evident that these do not belong in the disambiguation. We even have a report for the Latin vs Latin version of this :slight_smile:


Disambig regularly turn into a general description field, even for the famous. I saw these pop-up this week and wondered if they should stay. There is not really anyone to disambiguate these artists from.


I’ve thought about this. I’ve been adding events and while selecting performing artists I’ve made the mistake of adding the wrong artist because there was only 1 artist by the name I was searching, and so I felt like surely this must be the artist I am looking for. When diving a little deeper into it I discovered there are more artists by the same name but they weren’t available yet in MB. So that means that even if there seems to be no-one to disambiguate from that doesn’t need to be true (forever). A disambiguation would’ve helped me prevent my (I admit, careless) error. Therefor I feel like it would be a good idea to always add a disambiguation. In the best case it helps prevents errors, I’m sure we’ve all come across MB-artists containing data from several artists. In the worst case it’s redundant, but does that really matter a lot?


@RVMWSN - I agree with you for common names and lesser known artists, but people like Sinéad O’Connor and Kate Bush?


I would argue that that’s irrelevant because despite something being well known by most, there are always people who’ve never heard of it. The disambiguation helping those (perhaps very few) people would in my view outweigh the argument of redundancy.


Pasting some relevant MBS tickets here so others don’t need to search:

  • MBS-972: Display localized aliases everywhere (possibly in place of non-localized names?)
  • MBS-7646: Include localized aliases alongside disambiguations everywhere (instead of just in inline search)
  • MBS-11965: Show localized aliases next to entity names everywhere (I think this is essentially the same as MBS-7646)

Oh no, come on…

Artist: David Bowie (English singer-songwriter)



Neither of those are particularly rare names. There’s dozens (if not hundreds) of Sinead O’Connors in Ireland, and it doesn’t seem too far-fetched that a few might turn up as professional cellists or recording engineers or whatever.


The MB artist was created more than 20 years ago.
I bet that if we come back in another 20 years, there will still be only one. :kissing_heart:

And Kate Bush, and David Bowie?

But we are off topic.

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Sure, it is not forbidden to release under your real name, even if the name is occupied by a much more famous artist, but then the disambiguation will have to be added for that artist. And if the editor can’t tell the artists apart, they will pick the wrong one anyway. :slight_smile:

And what if the next Sinead O’Connor is also singer-songwriter? You need to know the distinguishing features first.

If a disambiguation helps identifying artists that’s good. Not everyone is familiar with even artists you consider famous. MB has users from all over the world from different generations. And I think especially for artists performing under their actually not so uncommon name there is a point of having those disambiguation.

I really don’t get why there are these recurring lengthy discussions about that. Having the disambiguation causes no harm but they add clarity.